Jun 1, 2023

What’s the Difference Between a Product Marketing Manager and a Marketing Manager

By Matt Dodgson

Co-Founder - Recruiter & Marketer

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in marketing, you might be wondering what the difference is between a product marketing manager and a marketing manager. While the titles sound similar, the actual responsibilities, skills, and qualifications required for each role can vary quite significantly. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at both positions to help you understand which one might be the right fit for your professional goals.

Understanding the Roles: Marketing Manager vs. Product Marketing Manager

The Role of a Marketing Manager

Marketing managers are an integral part of any company. They are responsible for developing and executing marketing strategies that help drive revenue and increase brand awareness for the company as a whole. A marketing manager’s role is multi-faceted and requires a broad range of skills and expertise. They work with a team of marketing professionals to create promotional campaigns, identify target audiences, and measure the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

B2B marketing managers are responsible for creating a comprehensive marketing plan that includes digital, content marketing, and demand generation. They must also stay up-to-date on the latest marketing trends, technologies, and best practises to ensure that their strategies are effective and relevant.

In addition to their strategic responsibilities, marketing managers also play a key role in managing budgets, timelines, and resources. They must be able to prioritise tasks and delegate responsibilities to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget.

The Role of a Product Marketing Manager

Product marketing managers are responsible for driving growth for a specific product or group of products. They work closely with a variety of stakeholders across product development, customer success, sales, and marketing to identify customer needs and create go-to-market strategies that highlight the unique features and benefits of those products. In many ways, product marketing managers act as the voice of the customer.

So product marketing managers must have a deep understanding of their target audience and the competitive landscape. They must be able to develop messaging and positioning that resonate with their audience and differentiate their products from the competition.

Alongside this, product marketing managers are responsible for creating product launch plans, developing sales enablement materials, and training sales teams on the unique features and benefits of their products. They must also work closely with the marketing team to ensure that their product campaigns are aligned with the company’s overall marketing strategy.

Overall, product marketing managers play a critical role in the success of a company’s product portfolio. They must be able to communicate the needs of the customer and ensure the company builds and brings to market products that help meet the broader goals of the company and contribute to the company’s overall growth.

▶︎ Resources – Product Marketing Job Description Templates

Key Responsibilities and Tasks

Marketing Manager Responsibilities

The marketing manager is responsible for developing and executing marketing strategies to meet business objectives. Often, this involves managing a team of marketing professionals to ensure that all marketing efforts are aligned with the company’s goals and objectives, although in startups, sometimes a marketing manager is the only marketer in the company.

One of the key responsibilities of a marketing manager is identifying and targeting key customer segments. This involves conducting market research to understand customer needs and preferences and developing marketing campaigns that resonate with these target audiences to build brand awareness and demand.

In addition to developing marketing strategies, a marketing manager is also responsible for executing marketing campaigns. Those campaigns will be integrated and cover both offline (events, conferences) and online (social, PPC, SEO, web, email) channels.

Finally, measuring the effectiveness of these marketing campaigns is also a critical responsibility for a marketing manager. This involves analysing data through GA4 or marketing automation platforms like Hubspot, on campaign performance and adjusting strategies accordingly to optimise results.

Product Marketing Manager Responsibilities

The role of a product marketing manager is to ensure that a company’s products are positioned effectively in the market. This involves developing product positioning and messaging that resonate with target audiences and creating product launch plans and go-to-market strategies that drive demand.

Collaborating with product development teams is also a critical responsibility for a product marketing manager. This involves working closely with engineers, designers, and other product stakeholders to ensure that product features meet customer needs.

Developing product pricing and promotion strategies is another key responsibility of a product marketing manager. This involves analysing market trends and the competitive landscape to determine optimal pricing for products and developing promotions that will drive customer engagement and sales.

Lastly, creating sales enablement materials for the product is also a critical responsibility of a product marketing manager. This involves developing materials such as product brochures, sales presentations, and case studies that sales teams can use to effectively communicate the value of the product to potential customers.



Skills and Qualifications

Skills Required for a Marketing Manager

Marketing managers play a crucial role in the success of a company. They are responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategies that increase brand awareness, drive sales, and ultimately boost revenue. To excel in this role, marketing managers need to possess a wide range of skills and qualifications.

One of the most important skills for a marketing manager is market research. This involves gathering and analysing data about customers, competitors, and industry trends to gain insights that can inform marketing strategies. Marketing managers also need to be skilled in data analysis, using tools like GA4 to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and adjust strategies accordingly.

In addition to analytical skills, marketing managers need to be creative problem-solvers. They must be able to come up with innovative marketing ideas that stand out in a crowded marketplace. They should also have experience managing teams and excellent communication skills to work effectively with other departments within the company.

Skills Required for a Product Marketing Manager

Product marketing managers need to have a unique set of skills and qualifications.

One of the most important skills for a product marketing manager is project management. They must be able to coordinate product launches and work with cross-functional teams to ensure that everything runs smoothly. They should also have strong writing and communication skills to create compelling product messaging and sales enablement materials.

It’s also important for product marketing managers to have a deep understanding of their target customers and the competitive landscape. This involves conducting market research to gain insights into customer needs and preferences, as well as analysing the strengths and weaknesses of competitors. Armed with this knowledge, product marketing managers can develop effective marketing strategies that resonate with customers and differentiate their products from the competition.

Comparing the Two Roles: Similarities and Differences

Similarities Between Marketing Managers and Product Marketing Managers

While the two roles have some differences, there are also several similarities. Both marketing managers and product marketing managers need to have a deep understanding of their customers and the market they’re operating in. They also need to be able to create effective and compelling messaging that resonates with their target audience. Additionally, both roles require strong project management skills to coordinate cross-functional teams and achieve business objectives.

One important similarity between the two roles is the need for strong communication skills. Both marketing managers and product marketing managers need to be able to clearly communicate their ideas and strategies to various stakeholders, including executives, sales teams, and creative teams. They must be able to articulate the value proposition of their products or services and explain how it meets the needs of their target audience.

Another similarity is the importance of data analysis. Both marketing managers and product marketing managers need to be able to analyse market trends and customer data to inform their strategies and decision-making. They must be able to identify opportunities and challenges in the market and adjust their plans accordingly.

Differences Between Marketing Managers and Product Marketing Managers

The primary difference between the two roles is the level of focus on specific products. Marketing managers are more concerned with the overall marketing strategy for the company as a whole, while product marketing managers focus exclusively on promoting and selling specific products or solutions. This means that product marketing managers need to have a deeper understanding of the product they’re promoting and its unique features and benefits, while marketing managers take a more high-level approach to messaging and positioning.

Another key difference is the level of collaboration required. While both roles require collaboration with cross-functional teams, product marketing managers may need to work more closely with product development teams to ensure that the product meets customer needs and aligns with the overall marketing strategy. Marketing managers, on the other hand, may need to collaborate more with executives and sales teams to ensure that the overall marketing strategy aligns with the company’s goals and objectives.

Finally, another difference between the two roles is the level of creativity required. While both roles require some degree of creativity, product marketing managers may need to be more creative in their approach to promoting a specific product and differentiating it from competitors. Marketing managers, on the other hand, may need to be more creative in their approach to developing overarching messaging and branding for the company as a whole.



Choosing the Right Role for Your Career

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Marketing Career Path

When deciding which marketing career path to pursue, there are several factors to consider. If you enjoy working with a variety of products and have a broader strategic focus, a career as a marketing manager might be the right fit for you. On the other hand, if you’re passionate about a specific product or industry and enjoy working strategically with a wider stakeholder base, a career as a product marketing manager might be the way to go.

Tips for Transitioning Between the Two Roles

If you’re currently working in one role and considering a transition to the other, there are several things you can do to make the switch successfully. First, focus on building the skills and experience required for the new role. For example, if you’re currently a marketing manager but want to transition to product marketing, start by working closely with your product teams to gain a deep understanding of the products you’re promoting, as well as getting closer to the customer through win-loss interviews or discovery calls.

Conclusion

Both marketing managers and product marketing managers play important roles in promoting and selling products. While there are some differences between the two positions, both require a deep understanding of the market and strong communication and project management skills. By understanding the differences between the roles, you can choose the right career path for your professional goals and make a successful transition between the two roles if desired.

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